USBF Womens Teams Trials – the last twists (Part 3)
With the slam swing on Board 93 Moss had moved into the lead 213 to 209 with only three boards to go.
But on Board 94 Sprung took the lead back yet again. This time they bid a nonvulnerable game which was played in partscore at the other table.
North (Bernstein for Sprung and Campanile for Moss) held:
The auction was identical at both tables until this juncture:
What should North rebid? North has shown about these values with the redouble. 2♠ by South suggested not only six spades but a hand that was too good for a weak two bid in spades. (And also one that had an “offensive” stance). Both North’s planned to raise spades but was the right call 3♠ or 4♠.
I would always bid 4♠ vulnerable. The scoring table imps makes it right to bid vulnerable games that are somewhat “odds off.” But when you are not vulnerable you don’t want to rush into poorish games.
The case for 3♠:
North had already shown about these values with the redouble. So bidding 3♠ would let partner decide. The ♥Q doesn’t look like a great card. My trump support is helpful but minimum. The auction suggests that if partner needs to find a club card it will be with West (offside).
The case for 4♠:
Every time I decide to not count a card as valuable (the ♥Q) on this hand it turns out to be wrong (as on this hand). So I don’t use that rationale too much any more unless I have reliable evidence that it is not valuable. Is the evidence on this deal is good enough? You have a full eleven, good spots and a fit with partner. Partner does not have a subminimum because she likely would have opening with a weak two. And while a club finesse will probably be off, a diamond finesse is probably on.
Perhaps the best reason to bid 4♠ when all is said and done is that it is much harder to defend than declare, as we shall see in a moment. In any case Bernstein bid the game and Campanile invited and was passed out in the partscore. Against 4♠ Deas lead a diamond and the hand was now cold.
I think a diamond is a perfectly rationale lead. Suppose you lead the ♥A. (That was the lead at the other table against 3♠. Many people would signal count on this card. And so as happened at the other table you might well continue a heart. But suppose you were playing that partner played attitude on the ♥A. Partner plays a card that says that you don’t like hearts. What would you do? If you guess to play ace and another club (or just lead a small club) you can defeat the spade game. Partner will high-low in clubs and you will hope up on the trump ace and give partner a club ruff. Terrific if it happens. No surprise that it didn’t at either table.
Another couple of imps went to Sprung on Board 95 and we came to the last board with Sprung leading by 4.
A slam could be made on the last board if reached. But it was a thin slam. North-South has 30 high card points between them but no particular fit. They have a seven card fit in diamonds, clubs and hearts. Diamonds (5-2) is the best fit because you are only missing the 10 while in Clubs (5-2) you are missing the jack. And the only slam that does make is 6♦ with 6NT failing on a likely spade lead.
In the Open Room Bernstein-Wheeler played in the 4-3 heart fit. In the Closed Room the spectators (but not the players) knew that Stansby and Campanile did bid a slam after Campanile opened the North hand. And more importantly they bid the right slam.
Wow! Joy and heartbreak, all on the final board. A fine match. An exciting match. Nobody deserved to lose. So congratulations to both the winners and the losers.